MediaRadar: Quibi Could Not Overcome Streaming Competition Despite Ad Push

(Image credit: Quibi)

NEW YORK—With Quibi announcing that it will be shutting down operations, the question of why Jeffrey Katzenberg’s short-form, mobile-focused streaming service failed is sure to raise a number of theories. According to MediaRadar, Quibi was simply not able to make in-roads against new streaming competitors despite major ad campaigns.

In an analysis of Quibi’s ad spending in 2020, MediaRadar found that the streaming service spent $63 million on TV, print and digital advertising. This put it as the fifth largest advertiser in the streaming category, year-to-date, behind (in alphabetical order) Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu and Peacock.

Quibi made large advertising pushes ahead of its April launch, staring with an ad during the Super Bowl in February. It again made a big push in July, August and September. Quibi was still advertising in October, with MediaRadar reporting to have seen an ad as recently as Oct. 18, although the company found that Quibi’s efforts were tailing off.

“Quibi was a bold business model looking to capitalize on the rise of streaming and the fact that consumers are always on the go,” said Todd Krizelman, CEO and co-founder, MediaRadar. “The application was slick and the production value was high. Many feel the timing was off, launching at the start of a pandemic. But this narrative doesn’t entirely fit. Due to COVID-incudced lockdowns in April, commute times were eliminated, people had more disposable time than ever to sample new services, like Quibi. We also learned that people were willing to pay for video content. For example, Disney+ subscriptions surged much faster than expected. 

“What was, and is a real constraint, is the degree of competition. It’s more severe than ever. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and the introduction of Peacock around the same time made it hard to break through the noise. Services, such as TikTok, Snapchat and Triller—and of course YouTube—pressed on the accelerator during these months, flooding the market with short-form video.”

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